SO what are we to make of the news that £15million is to be spent on trying to make the wholesale concreting-over of Harnham marginally less unacceptable?

John Glen is understandably pleased with the announcement of government money to remodel the gyratory and to improve the Park Wall junction and Exeter Street roundabout.

He knows just how difficult life will be made for existing residents of this southern suburb with the advent of thousands of extra cars and lorries serving more than 900 new homes and another primary school, with or without ‘pinch point’ improvements.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only voter telling him so, and expressing concerns about the key route for emergency vehicles to and from the hospital.

Only last week I attended a city council planning meeting where members decided they couldn’t support an application to build 108 more homes at Rowbarrow, feeding onto Odstock Road.

It’s a site that already has Wiltshire’s blessing. And the councillors weren’t unhappy with the design or layout. They were just very worried about the additional traffic and what their chairman John Farquhar called the area’s “fundamental infrastructure failings”. 

The committee agreed that they would have to raise this same objection to every plan that came up in Harnham because of the combined effect on the road network.

Now there’ll be measures to speed up the flow at the main bottlenecks, including reconfigured lanes.

But I would like to see more detail and more realistic estimates of the numbers of vehicles, for both local and through traffic using Netherhampton Road, before I start celebrating. 

Is the money just going to be spent implementing Wiltshire Council’s ‘Salisbury Transport Strategy’, which has deservedly been roundly criticised by people who actually live here, or is there something better to come?

If you look at the Park Wall junction, for example, where’s any extra space going to be carved out? By knocking down the Earl of Pembroke’s brickwork? And will it be enough to stop the rat-running that blights Quidhampton?

At the Guildhall last week our mayor, Cllr John Walsh, described Harnham as having been “very lucky up until now” in avoiding the fate of so many previously green and pleasant areas on the other side of the city.

All this development was “just a balancing up,” he suggested.

Well, I suppose he’s right. Why should some folk have a pleasant environment when others don’t? Let’s all be miserable together!

Disabled fliers not wanted?
IT’S sad that the operators of Old Sarum Airfield cannot be more helpful to a small business that gives disabled people a chance to take to the skies, transforming lives in the process.

Having ejected all the private pilots after failing to get permission to build hundreds of homes, they have now told the Shadow Flight Centre to take themselves and their microlights off. Fortunately, Compton Abbas has offered the refugees a new home.

Meanwhile Storm Ciara has caused even more damage to the crumbling listed hangar. I guess it’ll just fall down in the end.